SoCal battles back from 5-1 deficit to stay alive in Connie Mack World Series
FARMINGTON — The Southern California Renegades staved off elimination from the Connie Mack World Series today with a dramatic come-from-behind victory over the Nashville Knights.
After digging themselves into a 5-1 deficit after three innings, the Renegades battled back to top the Knights 10-7 in Game 6 of the series at Ricketts Park.
"For us, we really had to hit the ball and keep the pressure on (Nashville)," SoCal coach Si Pettrow said. "We actually made a couple of baserunning mistakes, but thank God we overcame them."
SoCal struggled to start the game and allowed five runs in the second inning. But after making a pitching change to bring in Daniel Martinez in the second, the Renegade defense settled in and kept the Knights in check.
"Everything was just about minimizing the damage," Martinez said of inheriting bases loaded in the second. "I came in with a tough situation and was just trying to keep the team in it."
SoCal cut the deficit to 5-4 in the fourth with a two-out, two-RBI double from nine-hole hitter Evan Berkey, then an RBI single from Kenny Oyama in the next at-bat.
The one-run game didn't last long. In the bottom of the fifth, Nashville added two runs with RBIs from Jonathan Giles and JT Weber.
The Knights threatened with more runs, but Martinez struck out the final two batters, stranding runners on second and third base.
SoCal then put together another two-out rally in the top of the sixth, scoring three of its six runs in the inning with two away.
"We preach a lot that good teams have to hit with two outs," Pettrow said. "Bring up the next guy and the next guy. And today we did that. That was a great team we faced, and the kids did a great job."
Ryan Gaynor finished the day three for four with two RBIs for SoCal. Jon Schiffer and Berkey matched Gaynor with two RBIs each.
The loss ends Nashville's season and the team's first trip to the CMWS.
"I've been wanting to come out here for a long time," Nashville coach Eric Fruechtemeyer said. "We've played Connie Mack for years and years, and were never able to come out here. This year, we cracked through, and it's been a great experience. The town's awesome, the tournament's awesome, the people and the facility are awesome. We hope to be back. It's a great experience for our kids, and it's something they'll probably cherish for the rest of their life."
The win moves SoCal into Game 9 of the series on Thursday. The Renegades will face the winner of Game 5 between the 4-C ClubSox and D-BAT Elite. If the ClubSox win, the game will be played at 7:15 p.m. If D-BAT wins, they'll play at noon.
For coverage of the ClubSox-D-BAT game, and other action at the CMWS, visit daily-times.com.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.